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The 26-year-old highlights the importance of youth development as it would provide the next line of players...

Mehtab Hussain, who is named among Wim Koevermans' 27 players for the final phase of the Indian national team's training camp ahead of the Nehru Cup, thinks that it is not easy for new players to replace the seniors who have retired.

In the last year or so, the likes of Bhaichung Bhutia, Mahesh Gawli, Climax Lawrence and Samir Naik have called it quits from the international scene and that has left a gaping hole which the youngsters have too fill in.

"You cannot compare anyone with the other. Like Climax [Lawrence] or Bhaichung 'Bhai' [Bhutia] - it's very difficult to fill their places. As one (player) goes, there should be another to replace him," he told

"If you had a look at Brazil and Mexico in the Olympics final, almost all players are newcomers (although they were under 23 teams). Youth development is very important," he added.

The East Bengal midfielder believes that the onus is on the I-League clubs to provide more players to the national team through their youth team ranks.

"The clubs have to take more initiatives in creating new players which will ultimately benefit the national team. You can already see some players like Milan Singh and Alwyn [George], but more players should come.

"Some players' height is around five feet four inches or five feet five inches. So in such cases, we have to build upon other aspects like strength, power and stamina without which it is going to be very difficult."

Where would I fit in Team India?

The former Mohun Bagan player went on to recall his enriched experience of working under several coaches in his playing career and admits that it's the duty of the seniors to help their understudy.

"Earlier when I joined India in 2003, I had already learned from many coaches. From [Syed] Nayeemuddin (of India) to [Trevor] Morgan, PK Banerjee (of East Bengal), and so many people.

"Lots of opinions shared, but ultimately it's all about winning. So it's our responsibility to use our experience to build the combination with the juniors," he observed.

Talking about his own place in the national team circuit, Mehtab Hussain vowed to give his best, while claiming that Koevermans would need some time with the players.

"Whatever it is, whoever it is, only who performs will make it. Everyday you have to perform well. I'll give my best and let the coach decide as his selection should be for the best of the team," he stated.

"This is a new team with new boys. I think it will take at least one-to-two months for the team to play to its maximum potential. We will be playing a new system under this coach (Koevermans)."

Hussain further concluded, "Every coach has a different vision. This coach (Koevermans) has a different vision too. After he watches the I-League in the upcoming season, I'm sure he will have more perspective on his team."

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